Safety Rules to keep in Mind
It’s very clear a lot of what people learn about handling firearms comes from watching television shows. One of the things that has always bothered me about the popular show, “the Walking Dead” is how the lead protagonist Rick is continually using his revolver as a finger-pointer. This occurs in just about every scene he is in when he is giving a lecture on the necessity of trying to survive. I think it comes in at minute 3:48. This episode not as bad as some of the others.
The show Charlie’s Angels also comes to mind. I’m not going spend a lot of time cherry picking scenes, episodes or movies. Yes, I understand. He’s a Hollywood actor and the director gave him lots of liberties. Maybe the technical advisor should have done a better job. Maybe he wasn’t allowed to. Either way it goes try to keep some of these ideas in mind when you’re around a handgun. If you’re savvy with a weapon then pass along what you know. There’s nothing worse than a novice being taught the wrong thing and allows it to become his new habit. Too often somebody doesn’t speak up because they don’t want to offend another person. Everyone around a gun should be a safety officer.
STICK TO THE BASICS!
- Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded. I think we can all recount stories of how someone was injured because they presumed wrongly. I recall the time my buddy was cleaning his weapon and got distracted by his family. He placed his weapon on the table, completed his honey-do chore, came back to clean the weapon, and accidentally fired the weapon into the floor; all while believing he had removed the round prior to beginning his honey-do chore.
- Let’s stay away from alcohol and guns. I still remember the guy who was cleaning his gun while drinking whiskey and discharged two rounds into his leg. It wasn’t until he moved from the shooting the .22 and then the .9mm that he realized what he’d done and had to call 911. Whiskey and guns don’t mix unless your Doc Holiday from Tombstone.
- Mind where you put your weapon. Carry it loaded in a vehicle glove-box and it could jostle around and you just might take a shot to while you’re driving. How about keeping it in your gun case and unloaded on the floor of your car? Unless you’re capable of carrying it in your holster safely like a police officer, start with the basics of safe carry, and keep it out the glove-box or on a car seat.
- Don’t put that thing in your pocket or waistband. Unless it’s for necessity or because you can do it safely, how about you just don’t? Sure it looks cool in the movies. Sure you’ve seen the gangsters do that but don’t try it. A waistband is no safe guarantee that it’s going to stay snugly in place. The gun just might slip into your pants, slide down your pant leg and fire when it hits the ground. I don’t think I need to say more.
- Don’t pass a “closed” weapon to somebody. Do them the proper courtesy of demonstrating that it is unloaded by opening the action.
- Keep your finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to shoot it. Too many times someone has shot themselves or somebody else because they were finger-faddling the trigger.
- Stay away from drugs and weapons. Yep, that’s right. Prescription drugs can make you drowsy and impair your judgement. Harder drugs, well…nuff said. Well, actually no…If I have to tell you to not mix the stuff well I guess you deserve to shoot yourself.
- If you take a gun out of the holster then it should be for a few reasons: to shoot it, to clear it or to clean it. Sure, you can even hand it off to somebody but make sure it is unloaded first.
There are a lot of rules to follow. We can listed more than a dozen in 10 seconds. In the end, if you are handling a weapon, it is YOUR responsibility to use it safely. We cannot be responsible for your behavior and the choices you make. Last week during a basic firearms class I asked to see if anyone needed help loading their magazines. One student replied, “Can you check my gun?” When I turned to face him I realized he was carelessly pointing the muzzle right at me. I slapped the weapon down with my right hand and turned to the side to avoid potentially being shot. The weapon was unloaded.
This was a class for students who already took a few basic firearms courses but we can’t monitor the reckless behavior of everyone. Again, if you decide to handle a firearm, you have a responsibility to know how to use it or you have no business picking one up at all. The student should not have been allowed to take this Tactical mid-level course. He didn’t even have a basic understanding of gun safety.
Always practice safety first.